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So GoodAug/Sep 2009 Issue

Gluten-Free Zucchini Recipes

It’s that time of year when we have zucchini coming out our ears, as my grandfather used to say. Grandpa used to fret about wasting his prolific crop so he would make the rounds of the neighborhood, giving away zucchini to anyone who would take it. We were forever eating zucchini in one form or another. Relish, casserole, au gratin and my personal favorites – muffins, bread and cake.

The word zucchini comes from the Italian zucchino, meaning a small squash. This easy-to-grow vegetable originated in North America and was carried to Italy by early explorers. Grated into cakes and breads, it adds fiber, moisture and texture to baked goods—welcome characteristics in gluten-free baking. In addition, zucchini is low in calories and loaded with folate, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A and C. Plentiful and inexpensive in the summer, this veggie is one of the few foods that almost anyone can eat. Allergy to zucchini is rare.

Here’s a gluten-free, dairy-free recipe that makes good use of this ubiquitous summer squash. This moist, flavorful cake is versatile and equally delicious served as a coffee cake for breakfast or a dessert for dinner. It’s also a nice way to get your kids to happily eat a serving of vegetables.

Zucchini Quinoa Cake

SERVES 12

You can make an egg-free version of this cake by replacing the eggs with flax gel (see TIP). The cake’s texture will be denser and heavier but it will taste just as good. Enjoy it plain or top it with a dusting of powdered sugar.

2½ cups All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend

1 cup quinoa flakes

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated, if available)

1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter or dairy-free buttery spread, room temperature

1½ cups light brown sugar, packed

3 large eggs or flax gel*

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¾ cup low-fat buttermilk, vanilla soy milk, or milk of choice

2 cups finely grated zucchini

¾ cup chopped nuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 10- or 12-cup Bundt cake pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour blend, quinoa flakes, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add brown sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs (or flax gel), one at a time, mixing well after adding each. Add vanilla and beat to combine.

4. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk and ending with dry. Fold in zucchini and nuts, if used. Batter will be thick as additional moisture comes from the zucchini as it bakes.

5. Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing it out to fill all crevices in the pan. Place in preheated oven and bake 65 to 75 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate and cool completely. LW

Each serving (without nuts) contains 355 calories, 13g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 84mg cholesterol, 345mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 4g protein.

*TIP Avoiding eggs? Substitute flax gel (page 62). Make enough flax gel to replace 2 eggs and add 1 additional teaspoon baking powder to dry ingredients. Bake the cake an extra 5 to 7 minutes.

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